Sony Computer Entertainment was sued by Chris Jarvis, a previous intern at the company’s Cambridge office last year.
Chris, 25, worked from 9:30AM until 6:00PM, not including a three-hour a day commute from his home in Milton Keynes. He believed he would be shadowing a Sony staff member but was instead given the responsibility to test the company’s 3-D artwork.
Because of his new role he believed he was due payment, to which he said:
I thought they would say they had made an honest mistake. If they got someone in to do the job it would have cost £100 a day. But they said that I was a volunteer so not entitled to any pay.
He sued for unpaid wages and was awarded £4,600 (nearly $7,200) before the tribunal ever started. Sony tried to have Chris sign a gagging order (a measure meant to restrict the story from going public) but he said no.
Jasmine Patel, someone who helped Chris with the case has this to say:
If someone is working set hours … and is adding value to the company so that if they were not doing the task someone else would have to be paid to do it, then it is more likely they will be defined as a worker in law, entitled to be paid. Voluntary workers can only be employed unpaid by a charity, a voluntary organisation, an associated fund-raising body or a statutory body. You can be a volunteer worker at a commercial company, but you still qualify for the minimum wage.